Academic journal article Foreign Language Annals

International and Foreign Language Studies Act of 2005 May Mean Important Changes to Higher Education Act, Spending Increases

Academic journal article Foreign Language Annals

International and Foreign Language Studies Act of 2005 May Mean Important Changes to Higher Education Act, Spending Increases

Article excerpt

Senators Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Thad Cochran (R-MS)-co-chairs of the 2005: The Year of Languages Honorary Council-are introducing the International and Foreign Languages Studies Act of 2005. Below is a description of the changes this important legislation would make in Title VI of the Higher Education Act, including significant increases in the bill's spending authorizations. To see the actual bill and a section-by-section analysis of changes, please visit http://www.languagepolicy.org under the "Higher Education Act" link.

Purpose: To increase study abroad and foreign language study opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.

Findings:

* In recent years, foreign language needs have significantly increased throughout the federal government due to the presence of a wider range of security threats, the emergence of new nation states, and the globalization of the U.S. economy.

* American business increasingly needs internationally and multiculturally experienced employees to compete in the global economy and to manage a culturally diverse workforce.

* Currently, the U.S. government requires 34,000 employees with foreign language skills across more than 70 federal agencies.

* Federal agency officials have stated that, over the years, translator and interpreter shortfalls have adversely affected agency operations and hindered U.S. military, law enforcement, intelligence, counter-terrorism, and diplomatic efforts.

* In a 2002 GAO report, the U.S. Army reported that it was experiencing serious shortfalls of translators and interpreters in five of its six critical languages: Arabic, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Persian-Farsi, and Russian.

* The number of Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships awarded in 2003 was 30% less than the number awarded at its high point in 1967.

* In the 2000-2001 school year, the number of foreign language degrees conferred was 1% of the total undergraduate degrees conferred, less than .05% of the total masters degrees conferred, and 1% of the total doctoral degrees conferred.

* In the 2003 National Survey of Student Engagement, only 40% of undergraduates reported taking foreign language coursework while only 1 in 5 reported having studied abroad.

* Only 1% of all U. …

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